Seeing New Water
The month of August for me resembled the old Bassmaster show “A Day on the Lake”. You know the one where the angler shows up and fishes a body of water they have never seen before? Ultimately this was one of my favorite shows when I got into fishing. I liked that you could see the anglers wheels turning as they began breaking down this new territory. Setting out my crew and I picked our 4 "new to us" bodies of water from Google Earth and had probably one of our best fishing months of the season.
Every lake is different in its own right and these 4 “new to me” bodies of water definitely didn’t offer much room for researching. As a matter of fact I was pretty grateful if my Navionics maps, C-Maps or Lowrance maps had any contour lines at all. With a couple of these lakes it came down to looking at Google Earth just trying to see what I could for mapping. I really had to rely on my eyes to read the water and trust in what my Lowrance Elite Ti unit was telling me.
Lowrance issued an update called Fish ID back a few months ago for their units and if you have not done this update you should be kicking yourself right now. It’s probably one of the most useful updates I’ve had the opportunity lay my eyes on. It’s picking up fish in deep water grass that I may have not seen without. Just that little extra splash of color to distinguish things is a major advantage. Being able to understand a good sonar unit could be the difference in beating the bank and catching fish when we are in these hot summer months. So many anglers are going to pull up to a new lake and head straight to the banks, the same banks that everyone else is fishing. By August and September those fish are well trained the lures that are zipping by on a daily occurrence. With the Lowrance Fish ID adding that extra color to the screen it has provided the ability to better see those fish hunkered down in some of those deeper water grass beds
I really had to keep my head on a swivel while I was out on the water. Fish are more often than not going to show themselves at some point when they are pushing bait fish. On all 4 lakes there was a shad / bait fish bite going anywhere from 0 to 15 feet of water. If I could look around and see the bait flipping it became visually obvious that there were bigger fish in the neighborhood. These were the types of areas I really tried to key in on and it paid off big.
When fishing deeper a lot of folks focus on deep water jigs, Carolina rigs and deep diving crankbaits. Those are great tools that should kept close by when you think about reaching fish that are a little deeper in the water column. My lure choices were a little different alternating between 4 lures, a vibration bait, spinnerbait, 10” worm and soft plastic swimbaits. The real painful part is how slow I am actually fishing the moving baits. I use an Abu Garcia Revo X with a 5:4.1 gear ration and slow rolling that. I am still covering water but at a snail’s pace. It’s allowing me to keep those lures in that deeper strike zone rather than having them lift due to the speed of my reel. All the reel companies are getting faster and faster but I love having a couple reels with a slower gear ratio. It shows pressured fish something just a little bit different and keeps me from reeling to quickly.
Lastly I kept it moving, if I fished an area it was on a time limit. If I didn’t get a bite, I made a move. There were a few days I feel like I paddled miles looking down at my Lowrance trying to find a fishy spot. New lakes can be daunting if you let them, there is so much water to cover in a short amount of time. It takes time and time isn’t our friend when it comes to new waters on a weekend schedule. There's just a lot to figure out and a lot you are going to over look. Again it all comes back to using the graph and being aware of your to figure things out.
New water is a lot of fun and for me it puts the "hunt" back into bass fishing. There’s just so many times when I am on familiar a body of water that I fish those same old spots I have for years. Seeing something new water I believe makes us better anglers and helps us understand things like mapping as well as fish movement. It also I think keeps our mind a little fresher for when we do go back to a lake we have fished before. I want to encourage you to get out something a little different for your next trip. That next big bass could be just a little further up the road.